The mass deployment of electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE) is underway, with cities, utilities and corporations in North America looking to this new technology as a way to usher in a more sustainable form of transportation. And while significant progress has been made in the deployment of charging technology, stronger efforts are required, both from public and private investment, to meet the rising demand for charging services among EV drivers. Varying ownership models for charging deployments, many of which are still fledgling and/or being explored, are presenting opportunities for public entities, private corporations and varied investors to rise up and meet this demand, with many looking to EV charging deployments not just as a sustainability inititative, but rather as a potential new revenue stream that could return value much sooner than originally anticipated. Below, we'll explore some of these ownership models and provide examples as to successful deployments across North America.
Although the deployment process and its associated steps such as site selection, civil and electrical engineering, contracting, installation and commissioning can be fairly standard, each charging deployment owner, be it a public entity or private corporation, will have unique needs that may not fit exactly with the ownership models detailed here. Working with a charging solutions provider with a proven history of providing clients with adaptable solutions tailored to their circumstances is always recommended.
Supply & Operate
The "supply & operate" ownership model for an EV charging deployment sees the charging solutions provider both providing the stations and ensuring that they are commissioned and operating before passing on some maintenance obligations to the client. In this model, further operations and service support, such as network operations and customer support, can be negotiated with the charging solutions provider at both the hardware and the software level. This solution is of particular interest to those cities, utilities, asset managers or corporations looking to EV charging as a potential revenue stream, as this ownership model allows them to levy the new charging deployment as a long-term vehicle to return value. Specifically, this model will allow the end client to retain the monies generated from the ever-increasing usage of the deployment (minus any transaction fees, energy costs and management expenses), rather than leaving those revenues to the charging solutions provider; however, it is important to note that in this instance, significant expenses pertaining to maintenance and operations can sometimes be the responsibility of the client. For an example of this type of ownership model, we can look to the streetlight charging stations recently deployed in Los Angeles by FLO® , a leading North American charging network and supplier of smart charging solutions.
Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)
Service charging solutions models, such as the "Infrastructure as a Service" or IaaS model, are becoming increasingly popular as commerical landlords and private corporations look to provide an amenity to EV drivers without taking on the responsibility and expenses of ongoing maintenance. In these service models, the charging solutions provider effectively "rents" the infrastructure to the client, and manages not only the supply of the initial station, but also the continued maintenance and operational obligations for the deployment, usually via a "global management services" arrangement. Similarly, responsibilities such as commissioning and driver support are always the responsibility of the solutions provider. IaaS charging solutions are optimal for businesses looking to deploy EV charging with minimal ongoing maintenance and operations responsibilities, and is particularly attractive for fleet managers and/or workplace deployments.
Own & Operate
This ownership model, seen most often in public deployments, allows a site owner to provide a tangible amenity by providing the charging solutions provider with space to install and operate charging stations. In return, the solutions provider is responsible for the continued maintenance and operating expenses associated with the station; however, via the "own and operate" agreement, the solutions provider keeps the revenue generated from charging activity, minus the associated energy costs. This "turnkey" model, as seen in commerical deployments such as this one from Cadillac Fairview, is ideal for site owners who are eager to install charging infrastructure, but may be leery of taking on the responsibility of maintaining a charging deployment or who are concerned with ongoing operating expenses.
Charging as a Service (CaaS)
The "Charging as a Service" or CaaS model is similar to Own & Operate, but is optimized for private deployments such as multi-residential buildings or multi-location workplaces. This model sees the charging solutions provider responsible for most everything pertaining to the deployment. While the end client is responsible for providing the initial real estate for the chargers, the remainder of the services, from installation and commissioning to servicing, maintenance, and even arranging the supply of energy, fall to the charging solutions provider. This model often includes overarching management services including revenue collection (and remittance of a certain portion back to the client, if negotiated), and may also feature valuable add-ons such as proactive maintenance and monitoring and driver support services.
As demand for charging services grows, charging deployments in urban centers, rural areas and along transit corridors will become increasingly common. As they do, opportunities for revenue positive deployments, as seen in places like California and Quebec where EV penetration is among the highest in North America, will continue to present themselves for savvy players looking for exposure to sustainable infrastructure and its associated technologies.